The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo

December 6, 2011

I just finished devouring a wonderful book.  I enjoyed it so much I thought I would share. 

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In this book, the author - Paula Huntley - recounts her experiences living and teaching English in Kosovo in 2000-2001.  Paula accompanies her husband to the capital city, Prishtina, where he is working to rebuild the legal system after the Albanian-Serbian conflict and years of communism.  Paula bonds with the people of Kosovo, and especially her students, with whom she forms the Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo.  Together they read Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea.  This story is, as the book jacket reads "a compelling tribute to the resilience of the human spirit."  I loved it.

I have a dear, dear friend who is from Albania but now lives in Canada. Paula Huntley's description of Albanian culture matches exactly to how my friend has described Albania and the Albanian people.  In my experience, Albanians are incredibly warm, extremely generous, and hold fiercely to their beliefs.

Reading about war-torn Kosovo has made me think a lot about my own life, and has helped me to see life through a more appreciative lens.  Despite my problems (crazy kids, starting a new business, and piles of student loans to pay off), I know that I am immensely lucky.  I am also reminded of a Babble post entitled "Be Thankful You Have First World Problems."  The post is pretty tongue-in-cheek, but I think some of the entries are scarily true.  (As a side note: I prefer the terms Developing and Developed to First and Third World.)

Has anyone read The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo?  Do you have any other read book suggestions?

1 comment:

Katie and Van said...

Enjoyed the Babble post and excited to have a new good book recommendation. I'll have to choose it for our book club :) thanks! If you like nature-y stuff I love anything I've read by Annie Dillard. Very different and lovely.

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